fifty years ago October 7, 1971 Archives

Refugee crisis

“A time will come when India will have to tell Pakistan ‘thus far and no further’, as the burden of refugees from Bangla Desh is becoming too heavy to bear,” Mr. R.K. Khadilkar, Union Minister for Labour and Rehabilitation, told newsmen here to-day. He did not explain the action the Government was contemplating. Mr. Khadilkar gave a grim picture of the refugee influx. He said that India must be prepared for a steep increase in the refugee influx from Bangla Desh from the present level of 91.46 lakh to over 1.2 crore as a result of the mounting guerilla activity of the Mukti Bahini and the consequent intensified repression from the West Pakistani army. Refugees were now coming to India at the rate of 41,000 per day. India had already spent Rs.120 crore on the refugees and would have to spend Rs.450 crore by the end of the year and Rs.600 crore by the end of March, 1972, assuming that the number of refugees would not exceed 10 million. Mr. Khadilkar called upon the international community to realise its responsibility and come forward with more generous aid.

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